Date Posted:09/20/2006, 2:00PM
HEAD COACH: Dave Caputi
2005 RECAP (6-2): The best Bowdoin football season in three decades saw the Polar Bears establish themselves as one of the top teams in New England by the end of the season, ranking sixth in the final regional poll. The Polar Bears picked up thrilling victories over Middlebury, Amherst and Tufts and dominating wins over Wesleyan and Hamilton. The highlight of the season was undoubtedly a memorable come-from-behind victory against Bates in week seven, setting the stage for a CBB Championship game against Colby in the season finale. Although the Polar Bears fell short in that game, the season was an unmitigated success as the program set several school records. Four Bowdoin players earned All-Conference honors, including Jeff Nolin '06, Mike Stratton '06, Dave Diamond '06 and Brendan Murphy '07.
2006 PREVIEW: After several seasons of program-building, the Polar Bears made the jump to contender in 2005, and will be challenged to maintain their winning ways. The first two weeks of the season will provide some immediate insight, as week one's road game at Williams (6-2 in 2005) and week two's home-opener against revenge-minded Amherst (5-3) will set the tone for 2006.
Despite the loss of a talented senior class, the Polar Bears return a wealth of veteran talent. Of Bowdoin's projected week one starters, 19 of the 22 are upperclassmen- juniors and seniors including several experienced players on the line of scrimmage. The defensive line returns Zach Hammond and Joe Cruise on the interior, flanked by Dylan Brix and Mike Vitousek. The linebacking corps includes senior captain John Regan, classmate Dave Donahue and talented sophomore Damon Hall-Jones. The defensive backfield includes a mix of youth and experience, led by All-Conference performer Brendan Murphy and senior Mike Curtis, while underclassmen Bobby Welch and Sean Welch will look to pay immediate dividends.
Offensively, Bowdoin will look to replace a plethora of talent at the skill positions, but returns a solid group of offensive lineman to anchor the squad. Tackles Matt McCall and Rogan Donelly along with guards Russell Stevens and Ryan Fletcher and center Greg Righter are an extremely experienced unit and average 6-foot-3, 280-pounds across the board. The key to the 2006 season, however, will be the performance of several new starters on the offensive side of the ball. Senior Tom Duffy will take the reigns at starting quarterback and will look to classmate Doug Johnson and converted defensive back Lamont White at the wideout positions. Former defensive lineman Chris Sullivan made the switch to tight end and will give Duffy a big target over the middle. Sophomore Jeff Smith showed glimpses of promise in limited action last season and will look to take over as the starting tailback this season, with senior Bob DiMatteo plowing holes as fullback.
DID YOU KNOW?: After a 6-2 campaign in 2005, Bowdoin will look to post back-to-back winning seasons. The last time the Polar Bears earned consecutive winning seasons was in 1979 and 1980, when the squad posted two straight 5-3 records under head coach Jim Lentz.
2006 SCHEDULE: 9/23 at Williams (1:00 p.m.), 9/30 vs. Amherst (1:00 p.m.), 10/7 vs. Tufts (1:00 p.m.) , 10/14 at Hamilton (12:00 p.m.), 10/21 vs. Trinity (1:00 p.m.), 10/28 at Wesleyan (12:30 p.m.), 11/4 vs. Bates (12:30 p.m.), 11/11 at Colby (12:30 p.m.)